Joanne Thompson and Frances Fitzpatrick Social Support Volunteers at Glenview Belfast City Hospital

 

Joanne has been a social support volunteer at Glenview, Belfast City Hospital, since last July and really enjoys it. She was inspired to become a volunteer after she lost a close friend to cancer several years ago.

Joanne has previously volunteered for other organisations, and always got great satisfaction from this work. She began volunteering in Glenview last July, and balances this commitment with looking after her two children and working full time as a Call Centre Manager.

Glenview provides accommodation, close to the Cancer Centre, to help radiotherapy patients who require overnight or longer term accommodation. Patients can stay there for up to seven weeks during their treatment, when it is not practical to travel on a daily basis for their treatment.

Along with another volunteer she helps to organise a quiz night for all the patients and their family members. These quiz nights take place every Wednesday, and the questions/picture rounds will be sourced and compiled by Joanne along with another volunteer, and they will host the quiz. She will also help out in any other way, such as making refreshments for all the participants, or just making time to sit and chat with the patients.

She enjoys volunteering as she gets pleasure from making the patients have a good laugh during their treatment and letting them forget their worries. It is also another way of encouraging patients to meet one another and share their experiences.

She would encourage everyone to volunteer as she says ‘you get so much more back from volunteering than what you put in’. If she’s having a bad day she looks forward to coming to Glenview as there’s always a welcoming smile and a friendly face and lets you put all your own troubles into perspective.

Frances Fitzpatrick

Frances Fitzpatrick leads a busy life with being a mother to three young children and working full time as a solicitor, while also being a social support volunteer at the Glenview Building at Belfast City Hospital.

 She decided to become a volunteer after a family member was diagnosed and subsequently passed away from cancer, and felt drawn to give something back as a way of saying thank you to the support she received during this time. One day she noticed a sign on the Lisburn Road in Belfast aptly advertising volunteering opportunities and this spurred her into action.

Frances has been volunteering at Glenview Building since last July and enjoys it greatly. Glenview House provides quality accommodation on the Belfast Hospital site, close to the Cancer Centre, to help radiotherapy patients who require overnight or long term accommodation. Patients can stay in Glenview for up to seven weeks during their radiotherapy treatment , when it is not practical to travel on a daily basis for treatment.

Every Wednesday night Frances volunteers at Glenview, along with another volunteer Joanne and together they organise a quiz night for all the patients and their family members. She will help source the questions for the quiz every week and also be the ‘quiz’ master on occasions. She will also make refreshments for all those participating. The weekly quiz nights are great craic, and she believes it’s important for the patients as it breaks up the week for them during their treatment and allows them to forget about their illness for a short while. Some of the patients may be at Glenview for several weeks and this enables her to build up very good relationship with them.

Frances says she ‘loves’ volunteering and gets great satisfaction from it and often feels humbled by the patients she meets, and would encourage anyone of thinking of volunteering to do it as it’s well worth it.

Read more Volunteer Stories